Brand USA, the
destination marketing organization for the United States, hosted the opening
celebration for the U.S. – India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year in Delhi, India yesterday. The
“Partnership Year” effort is led by the Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO)
and the Government of India’s Ministry of Tourism through the U.S. – India
Strategic and Commercial Dialogue’s Travel and Tourism Working Group. India is one of the fastest growing markets
for inbound international travel to the United States, with NTTO forecasting a
72 percent increase in arrivals from 2015 through 2021.
The U.S. – India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year is
designed to effectively position the United States and India for increased
trade in travel services by bringing the governments and the private sectors in
both countries together to focus on mutually beneficial opportunities within
the travel sector. It also creates an opportunity for Brand USA to bring new
programming opportunities in the Indian market to its U.S. domestic partners.
The initiative will also create inroads for the U.S. travel industry with the
India travel trade to facilitate better connections and opportunities to
promote travel from India to the United States. Brand USA leads the promotion
of the U.S. – India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year among the U.S. travel
“India is one of the fastest growing markets for inbound
tourism to the USA, and we seek to capture an increasing share of this new
business, which will be an important contributor to fueling the economy and
creating jobs,” said Christopher L.
Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA. “The USA offers Indian travelers
a range of experiences and destinations that provide the authenticity and value
Indian travelers seek, and we intend to leverage the partnership year to
inspire even more travelers from India to visit the USA. Key to our efforts are
expanded cooperative marketing programs and B2B marketing initiatives, product
development, and our ongoing consumer marketing.”
In 2015, the United
States welcomed 1.1 million visitors from India who spent $11.8 billion,
positioning India as the eleventh largest inbound visitation market and the
seventh largest market for U.S. travel and tourism exports, according to
statistics from NTTO. Over the last decade, travel and tourism exports to India
have more than doubled, accounting for 65 percent of all U.S. services exports
to India. The opening celebration was attended by more than 200 leading tourism
and media executives and government officials from India and the United States.
The entities representing the U.S. travel and tourism industry at the event
included: American Tours International,
Caesar’s Entertainment, Enterprise Holdings, Experience Kissimmee, Grand Canyon
Helicopters, Grand Canyon West, The Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau
(TX), the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Maxim Tours, the
National Tour Association, NYC & Company, SeaWorld Parks &
Entertainment, Travel Oregon, Ujala Vacations, United Airlines, and Visit Orlando, among others. Speakers
at the event included Brand USA President and CEO Christopher Thompson, U.S.
Chargé d’Affaires MaryKay Loss Carlson,
NTTO Director Isabel Hill, and Joint
Secretary, Indian Ministry of Tourism Suman
Billa. The emcee for the event was India’s leading international live host Rini Simon Khanna.
The opening celebration occurred during the same week as the
annual South Asia Travel and Tourism
Exchange (SATTE) travel trade show in Delhi from February 15-17, 2017.
SATTE, now in its twenty-fourth year, is one of South Asia’s leading B2B travel
and tourism trade exhibitions, where Brand USA is again leading the USA
Pavilion featuring nearly a dozen U.S. partner exhibitors. On Feb. 15, Brand
USA President and CEO Christopher Thompson inaugurated the USA Pavilion
alongside Patrick Santillo, the
Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs at U.S. Embassy Delhi.